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Shivwits Band of Paiutes

     Of all those now living in Washington County none has been here as long as the Shivwits band of Paiutes. The southern Paiutes probably entered Utah about 1100 AD. There were larger groups of the people who settled along the rivers and smaller groups who stayed near springs. The Paiute people were mainly foragers, hunting rabbits, deer, and mountain sheep, and gathering seeds, roots, tubers, berries, and nuts (especially pine nuts.) They also had some irrigated fields along the banks of the Virgin, Santa Clara, and Muddy rivers. They raised corn, squash, melons, gourds, sunflowers, and later, winter wheat.
     These small bands of people were mainly family groupings which camped together and were often named after the locations they inhabited. Spring and summer were spent in areas where they could gather, plant, and hunt food for the upcoming winter. In the fall after the growing season was over, large Paiute groups gathered together for dances and marriages. In the winter stories were often told of the supernatural world and activities of Wolf and Coyote and other spirit animals. Wolf was the elder and more responsible brother , while Coyote was the trickster and troublemaker.
     The Paiutes' first contact with Europeans probably occurred when the Escalante-Dominguez party encountered Paiute women gathering seeds in 1776. Around 1827 Jedediah Smith established an overland route to California through the Paiute territory. The presence of trappers, traders, and emigrants and their animals along this route had a serious effect on the Paiutes. Their grasses, corn, and food were eaten and trampled down by the travelers and their animals and the Paiute young women and children were often stolen and traded to the Europeans by the Utes and Navajos. This and the arrival of the Mormons in the 1850s and other permanent settlers ended the Paiutes' traditional lifestyle. Those who came to stay settled, cultivated, and fenced places that had traditionally served the Paiutes as foraging and camping areas.
     The first reservation for the Paiutes was established in 1891 on 100 acres of land near the Santa Clara River at Shivwits, about 10 miles west of St. George. At the end of 1891 a census was taken showing that there were a total of 194 at the reservation: 114 males and 80 females. Of this number there were fifty heads of families and forty children between six and sixteen years of age. The loss of their major sources of traditional food, contagious diseases from the settlers, and other problems resulting from the settlement of the county have greatly reduced the number of the tribal members. In the 1950's the Utah Paiutes' tribal status was terminated by Congress. This caused many problems for the people for nearly 30 years. In the 1970s award money was given to the people to pay for land that was taken many years before (27 cents per acre!) On 3 April 1980 President Carter signed legislation that restored federal recognition for the Paiute. This has made it possible for the people to once again have a tribal council and the help of social programs.
     The Shivwits settlement near Shem has changed over the years, most of the early homes are gone and newer homes have been built east of the old site. The cemetery is still in use. The people of the Shivwits band and the other Southern Paiute remain a close-knit group. Their rich heritage and culture are very important in making them a unique and proud people.


Shivwits Cemetery Index  from Washington County, Utah - Family Research Series, No. 2
The cemetery index above is a great resource for researching the Shivwits Tribe.
It is offered on this website through the generosity of Wesley W. Craig.
His sources for this index include:

(A) Cemetery search by LaVan Martineau, 1966
      (and data in his “Southern Paiute Genealogy”, no date)
(B) Alvin Marble’s family materials
(C) Cemetery search by W. Craig, 1997

Cemetery Indexes for Washington County, Utah (1852-1996) by Wesley W. Craig
Washington County Utah - UTGenWeb home page.

Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
History of the Paiute Indians of Utah
April 4, 2000: Witness Statement of Glenn Rogers, Chairman, Shivwits Band, Of The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah - This statement contains some of the history of the Shivwits band.
"Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Restoration Act" of 1983 - extracted documents
Online Utah map showing location of Shivwits
Picture of old section of Reservation - Surweb (may be old Snow home)
Picture of new section of Reservation - Surweb
Surweb - Pictographs - Mountain Sheep Petroglyph west of Ivins - More mountain sheep petroglyphs

Native American Genealogy and Research Links:
DOI - Tracing Your American Indian Ancestry
Cyndi's List - Native American
Native American Links - focusing primarily on genealogy
General Native American And Genealogy Links - Lots of great links starting toward the middle of this page.
Native American Genealogy
National Archives - Native American Resources Page

Native American Genealogy Group - on America Online

Paiute Links:
A History of the Paiute People - This is a wonderful site. The history includes 14 pages of pictures and sections on food, dress, housing, etc. There are many nineteenth century pictures of  Paiutes in the St. George area.
Powell Meeting the Paiutes, 1874
Paiute Indians of Utah  
- Utah History Encyclopedia, text

Southern Paiute
Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
The Paiute Tribe of Utah -
"Utah History to Go" website
Paiute Tribe
Kaibab Paiute Tribe
Southern Paiute - Wikipedia
Duck Valley Reservation, ID GenWeb
25 USC Sec. 742 (01/24/94)
The story of Major John Wesley Powell
Tocmetone (Sarah Winnemucca) - Paiute
Paiute Indians 1 - Ghost Dancers
Paiute Indians2- Sarah Winnemucca and Legends: The North Star and The Deer Star
Stone Mother A Paiute Creation Myth
Why the North Star Stands Still (Paiute)
Ongoing Cases - Victory for Utahs Shivwits Band of Paiute Indians

Native American Links:
"NAVA Presents - The Flags of the Native Peoples of the United States"
DOI- How Do I Trace Indian Ancestry?
Bureau of Indian Affairs
NativeWeb Home Page - magazine

Note to all:

If you have histories of the members of the Shivwit band (past or present) on a website or that you would like to have published on the web, other genealogy help for this reservation, or know of other related links please let me know.  --Cindy Alldredge

Return to Washington County UTGenWeb home page.

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This page was updated on 5 July 2006 with all links working at that time.

Copyright ©2000, 2006 by Cynthia B. Alldredge